Apr 24, 14

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Austin's Energy Conservation Gem: A Worldchanging Interview with Paul Robbins

Paul Robbins has been an environmental activist and consumer advocate since 1977. He has worked on many issues related to the environment, including clean energy, recycling, and air pollution. He is currently based in Austin, Texas, where he publishes, and writes much of the content for, the Austin Environmental Directory,, a source book of environmental issues, products, services, and organizations. (While some of its articles are specific to the Austin bioregion, others are relevant to the...

cities

Leapfrogging into a Carbon-Light Future: The End of High-Carbon Prosperity and How Low-Income Nations Are Becoming Climate Resilient

Martin Wright asks whether low-income countries are on a fast track to low-carbon prosperity. The tropical sun is beating down. The wind is picking up. Yet the co-op farmers and their VIP visitor from the National Treasury are wreathed in smiles. Of course, their spirit of well-being owes something to the creature comforts of this airy, ultra-modern building, and to the friendly shade and shelter of the tree belt that surrounds it. But the real story is there for all to see on the LED wall...

cities

Toward Sustainable Travel: Breaking the Flying Addiction

Flying dwarfs any other individual activity in terms of carbon emissions, yet more and more people are traveling by air. With no quick technological fix on the horizon, what alternatives — from high-speed trains to advanced videoconferencing — can cut back the amount we fly? by Elisabeth Rosenthal In most departments I have excellent green credibility, and my carbon footprint is small. I have not owned a car in more than 20 years and commute to work by subway. I walk to the market and...


The Parable of the Electric Bike

by Alan Durning 01 - Juice Hawgs: Electric bikes aren't the answer to our prayers. We are. Mmmm. An electric bike. Zipping through the city. Surging up hills without gasping for breath. Riding in business dress and arriving fresh and dry. Healthy, moderate exercise. No traffic jams. Free parking. Huge load-hauling potential. Near-free fueling. Zero emissions. Breeze in your face. Appealing! So why haven’t e-bikes caught on (yet)? Especially in the Pacific Northwest, which is brimming...

planet

Can Finance Save Forests?

By Martin Wright If rainforests are so valuable, why can’t we make them pay? For years, that was a rhetorical question. Not any more. Martin Wright on our last, best hope of saving forests – and the climate. It’s a gorgeous June day, 2040, deep in the Amazon rainforest. Peering through the clouds, you can see your pension plan – the vibrant greens of the canopy, reassuringly intact. Panning left, you can just make out the line of the last logging road, long swallowed up by the...

cities

Germany Boosts Electric Vehicle Development

Germany, the birthplace of Volkswagen, Porsche, and BMW, plans to become a global leader for developing low-carbon vehicles. The country will increase electric vehicle production from less than 2,000 units currently to 1 million units by 2020 and 5 million units by 2030, aided by some 500 million euros (US$705 million) in research funding through 2012, the government announced last month. Overall, German greenhouse gas emissions have fallen some 21 percent since 1990, but...

business

Its Economy in Shambles, The Midwest Goes Green

by Keith Schneider It took awhile, but the U.S. Midwest finally has recognized that the industries that once powered its economy will never return.  Now leaders in the region are looking to renewable energy manufacturing and technologies as key to the heartland’s renaissance. On the same day in late June that the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved legislation to curb greenhouse gases and invest billions in developing wind and solar energy, Mariah Power displayed one of...

business

Will the Recession Derail China’s Slow Train to Sustainability?

Or could it spur a surge in green innovation which will see the country become the world’s leading cleantech hub? Sam Geall investigates. Over the last year, something strange has been happening on the mainline platforms of China’s vast eastern cities. In normal times, they’re the site of mass seasonal migrations, as millions of migrant workers catch the train back home for the holidays, returning in equal numbers when work resumes. Since 2008, though, the stations have also seen...

planet

Five smart new things to read about climate change

Five climate change pieces with something new to say: Two degrees of global warming -- the target the G8 nations last week approved as a maximum temperature rise allowable due to climate change (and which many argue is being made inevitable by slow political action in G8 nations) -- has been played in the media as a "moderate" target. It's not. Real Climate writes about a two-degree goal: "[E]ven a “moderate” warming of 2°C stands a strong chance of provoking drought and storm...


Pioneer City 2030: What the Energy System of the Future Looks Like

The energy system of the future is being founded now. New energy systems and technologies are growing on an accelerating curve: • Buildings that are green, super-efficient and fully managed by digital technologies have become economically competitive. • Hybrid vehicles partly propelled by electricity have emerged in the market, with plug-in vehicles coming over the next several years. • Smart electric grids that employ digital technology to manage power supply and demand are...

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